HC quashes compulsory retirement of Executive Officer, directs reinstatement

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Nov 16: High Court has quashed the order whereby Incharge Executive Officer Municipal Committee Magam was compulsorily retired and directed the Government to reinstate him within one month with all consequential benefits.
The petitioner Abdul Rashid Shah was compulsorily retired from the Government services vide order dated June 30, 2015 and feeling aggrieved over the decision of the Government the officer knocked the doors of the High Court.
The pith and core of the petition is that during the entire tenure of his service he worked with great deal of honesty and dedication and he was given various promotions on the basis of his suitability, merit and excellent service record.
He submitted before the High Court that in the year 2009 and prior to that also some appointments came to be made in the Municipal Committees of Hajin, Sumbal and Bandipora by the elected Presidents concerned. However, these appointments came under the black mass of a cloud as a consequence of which three FIRs were registered against him by the Vigilance Organization.
“The FIRs are pending investigation before the Vigilance Organization for the last four to five years and the same are the subject matter of challenge before the High Court”, the petitioner submitted through his counsel.
However, the Government counsel submitted that the order of compulsory retirement passed in the case of the petitioner was based on the object of weeding out the deadwood from the State services.
After hearing both the sides, Justice M K Hanjura observed, “the order of compulsory retirement can be subjected to judicial scrutiny if the court is satisfied that the order is passed with malafide or that it is based on no evidence and that it is arbitrary”.
“For framing an opinion to compulsorily retire a public servant there should be some material on record to support and fortify it as otherwise it would amount to arbitrary or colorable exercise of power”, Justice Hanjura said, adding “applying the ratio of law laid down by the Supreme Court to the facts of the instant case, resort to the practice which has been followed by the State in directing the compulsory retirement of the petitioner will have serious ramifications in some cases”.
“It will lead to consequences which can be disastrous for the smooth functioning of the official machinery It needs to be said that most of the employees have to deal with the cases of public at large and the employees cannot practically keep every Tom, Dick and Harry in good humor”, Justice Hanjura said, adding “that being so, if this Sword of Damocles is kept hanging high on the heads of the employees any Tom, Dick and Harry can lodge a complaint against the public servant before the Vigilance Organization, which ultimately will pave the way to show him the exit”.
“Not only this, such a practice cuts at the very root of the basic tenets and the elements of the age old adage and axiom of law that a person accused of an offence is presumed to be innocent unless and until his guilt has been proved. The State has applied this principle in the reverse”, High Court said, adding “the FIRs cannot form the sole basis to retire a public servant compulsorily as the same is neither in tune nor in line with the mandate of Article 226(2) of the CSR and the judicial pronouncements holding the ground”.
Accordingly, Justice Hanjura quashed the impugned Government order with the direction to the State to reinstate the petitioner with all consequential benefits within a period of one month.

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